The Night Garden: Music for Bassoon and Piano | Hello Stage HLSCD010

The Night Garden: Music for Bassoon and Piano


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Label: Hello Stage

Cat No: HLSCD010

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 11th October 2019



Singaporean bassoonist Jo Anne Sukumaran presents her debut album, “The Night Garden”, on the HELLO STAGE label. The album takes listeners on a multi-faceted journey through the night, exploring its many moods, colours and memories. The album was recorded and produced by John Anderson, in December 2018 in The Spheres Studio, Montesilvano, Italy and features works by Saint-Saëns, Tansman, Hersant, Rønnes, Koechlin and De Falla.

“The idea for my album came from my being at a silent vipassana retreat. Surrounded by nature and the quiet, I found the island’s nocturnal mood and character so moving that the inspiration came strongly to me and materialized there,” she explains. Sukumaran set out to record a collection of atmospheric works that embodied her vision of a tranquil and safe space for the heart and mind.

She wanted to showcase the bassoon’s full possibilities on this album. She elaborates, “The bassoon is known as for its comic and humourous character in the orchestra. However, I wanted to move beyond that and explore it from different perspectives, not only from a Western classical one, but also from an Asian perspective.”

That expression of an Asian perspective for Sukumaran is one deeply rooted in identity. “Being bi-racial of both Indian and Chinese heritage, I wanted to tap into my Indian roots and see where it would take me as a musician. My exploration of Hindustani and Carnatic music strongly shaped The Night Garden’s mood and sentiment.”

As a classically-trained musician, Sukumaran’s departure from the strict realms of notated scores allowed her to exercise greater creativity in her playing. The title track, “The Night Garden” is an improvisation using bassoon, tabla and tanpura. It ends the album on a hopeful and optimistic note, as the listener emerges from the nocturnal garden and into morning light and new possibilities.

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